Freelancer Question #93: Where do I begin when I want to start my own business?
So you want to start your own business, but you have no idea where to start. My suggestion: Rather than diving head first into the deep end of entrepreneurship, why not first try your hand at being a full-time freelancer?
There’s of course a few distinct differences between freelancers and entrepreneurs, which boil down to a few simple facts:
- First, freelancers sell their skills, expertise and labor, while entrepreneurs sell products.
- Second, entrepreneurs work with investors and are often responsible for managing other people, while freelancers work with clients and primarily manage themselves.
- Lastly, freelancers focus on growing their individual brand, while entrepreneurs think beyond themselves and focus on building a company.
My argument: There’s enough of an overlap between both forms of self-employment that freelancing should conventionally be seen as a natural stepping stone on the path to being a full-fledged entrepreneur.
Take for example NetSuite expert Louis-Philippe Baillargeon, who began freelancing in hopes of laying a strong foundation for his entrepreneurial aspirations.
“…[I] studied pure mathematics and I really enjoyed it, but I kind of switched to business school because I wanted to maybe one day start my own business, and I thought it was more aligned with my future goals,” Louis-Philippe said.
“…[I] think the first point for me was to start as a freelancer to learn a few skills here and there, and then grow on that.”
By starting his entrepreneurial journey as a freelancer, LP gave himself the necessary room to cultivate important business skills such as establishing strong client relationships, building one’s own brand, and effectively solidifying an efficient, individual work flow.
Additionally, I think it’s important to mention that he did this without risking an investor’s capital or the livelihood of early startup employees.
As a freelancer, you’re able to take the time you need to perfect many of the skills expected from a top-tier CEO, and you end up taking all the risk as the lone employee of your business.
And while LP is confident in his ability to “wear multiple hats” within a company, he understands that probably the most significant difference between being a freelancer and an entrepreneur is that it takes more than just one incredible individual to build an actual company.
“To get there, you need the right people. Being a one-man army is good, is great, but you can’t do everything alone, and you can’t know everything by yourself.
That, my friends, is where OdeCloud‘s online community of freelance NetSuite experts comes into play 😉